You’re Not A Cop Until You Taste Them-A police Officer’s story in his own words

“Your love spreads into the sky and beyond it.

Your strong hand touches here where I hurt.

Wherever your feet have walked on this planet,

I go there secretly to lay my cheek.”

(Rumi)

(Time and again I have read this story and each time my eyes fill up with tears, and emotions of gratitude and thankfulness overcome me. Police Officers are much superior, decent human beings then what we as a public understand them to be. Their love for us and concern for us extends far beyond what we can ever imagine. Our small homage to them would be our show of gratitude, devotion, and feelings of care for them. Samina)

(Writer: Rick Monticello of Somerdale Police Department, New Jersey)

The department was all astir, there was a lot of laughing and joking due to all the new officers, myself included, hitting the streets today for the first time. After months of seemingly endless amounts of classes, paperwork, and lectures we were finally done with the Police Academy and ready to join the ranks of our department.

All you could see were rows of cadets with huge smiles and polished badges. As we sat in the briefing room, we could barely sit still anxiously awaiting our turn to be introduced and given our beat assignment or, for the lay person, our own portion of the city to “serve
and protect.”

It was then that he walked in. A statue of a man – 6 foot 3 and 230 pounds of solid muscle, he had black hair with highlights of gray and steely eyes that make you feel nervous even when he wasn’t looking at you. He had a reputation for being the biggest and the smartest officer to ever work our fair city. He had been on the department for longer than anyone could remember and those years of service had made him into somewhat of a legend.

The new guys, or “rookies” as he called us, both respected and feared him. When he spoke even, the most seasoned officers paid attention. It was almost a privilege when one of the rookies got to be around when he would tell one of his police stories about the old days. But we knew our place and never interrupted for fear of being shooed away. He was respected and revered by all who knew him.

After my first year on the department I still had never heard or saw him speak to any of the rookies for any length of time. When he did speak to them all he would say was, “So, you want to be a police officer do you hero? I’ll tell you what, when you can tell me what they taste like, then you can call yourself a real police officer.”

This particular phrase I had heard dozens of times. Me and my buddies all had bets about “what they taste like” actually referred to. Some believed it referred to the taste of your own blood after a hard fight. Others thought it referred to the taste of sweat after a long day’s work. Being on the department for a year, I thought I knew just about everyone and everything.

So one afternoon, I mustered up the courage and walked up to him. When he looked down at me, I said “You know, I think I’ve paid my dues. I’ve been in plenty of fights, made dozens of arrests, and sweated my butt off just like everyone else. So what does that little saying of yours mean anyway?” With that, he merely stated, “Well, seeing as how you’ve said and done it all, you tell me what it means, hero.” When I had no answer, he shook his head and snickered, “rookies,” and walked away.

The next evening was to be the worst one to date. The night started out slow, but as the evening wore on, the calls became more frequent and dangerous. I made several small arrests and then had a real knock down drag out fight. However, I was able to make the arrest without hurting the suspect or myself. After that, I was looking forward to just letting the shift wind down and getting home to my wife and daughter.

I had just glanced at my watch and it was 11:55, five more minutes and I would be on my way to the house. I don’t know if it was fatigue or just my imagination, but as I drove down one of the streets on my beat, I thought I saw my daughter standing on someone else’s porch. I looked again but it was not my daughter as I had first thought but merely a small child about her age. She was probably only six or seven years old and dressed in an oversized shirt that hung to her feet. She was clutching an old rag doll in her arms that looked older than me.

I immediately stopped my patrol car to see what she was doing outside her house at such an hour by herself. When I approached, there seemed to be a sigh of relief on her face. I had to laugh to myself, thinking she sees the hero policeman come to save the day. I knelt at her side and asked what she was doing outside.

She said “My mommy and daddy just had a really big fight and now mommy won’t wake up.” My mind was reeling. Now what do I do? I instantly called for backup and ran to the nearest window. As I looked inside I saw a man standing over a lady with his hands covered in blood, her blood. I kicked open the door, pushed the man aside and checked for a pulse, but unable to find one. I immediately cuffed the man and began doing CPR on the lady.

It was then I heard a small voice from behind me, “Mr. Policeman, please make my mommy wake up.” I continued to perform CPR until my backup and medics arrived but they said it was too late. She was dead.

I then looked at the man. He said, “I don’t know what happened. She was yelling at me to stop drinking and go get a job and I had just had enough. I just shoved her so she would leave me alone and she fell and hit her head.”

As I walked the man out to the car in handcuffs, I again saw that little girl. In the five minutes that has passed, I went from hero to monster. Not only was I unable to wake up her mommy, but now I was taking daddy away too.

Before I left the scene, I thought I would talk to the little girl. To say what, I don’t know. Maybe just to tell her I was sorry about her mommy and daddy. But as I approached, she turned away and I knew it was useless and I would probably make it worse.

As I sat in the locker room at the station, I kept replaying the whole thing in my mind. Maybe if I would have been faster or done something different, just maybe that little girl would still have her mother. And even though it may sound selfish, I would still be the hero.

It was then that I felt a large hand on my shoulder. I heard that all too familiar question again, “Well, hero, what do they taste like?”

But before I could get mad or shout some sarcastic remark, I realized that all the pent up emotions had flooded the surface and there was a steady stream of tears cascading down my face. It was at that moment that I realized what the answer to his question was.

Tears.

With that, he began to walk away, but he stopped. “You know, there was nothing you could have done differently,” he said. “Sometimes you can do everything right and still the outcome is the same. You may not be the hero you once thought you were, but now you are a POLICE OFFICER.”

© Samina Iqbal. 2013

About saminaiqbal27

I am a free lance writer who loves to write on social issues in particular. I am a house wife and my husband Dr. Shams Iqbal offers all the support and encouragement so that I can pursue my passion for authorship and other cause which is dear to me. My lifelong mission in life is to offer my support for the police officers who need to be supported and protected by general public like us. My inspiration to do this comes from my personal experiences of some of the greatest police officers whom I have witnessed do great deeds for the good of humanity. I am so inspired and fascinated to support this law enforcement group. On the other hand I like music, movies specially classics, I am a fashion geek, English and American literature are my passions.
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56 Responses to You’re Not A Cop Until You Taste Them-A police Officer’s story in his own words

  1. jahnosecret says:

    Beautiful story, and very moving too. Thank you.

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    • Thank you so much for such kind words. And yes the story is a reality which our protectors face everyday on the job. We must know these and appreciate our luck to be surrounded by such beautiful souls-Police Officers. Thanks for the visit and a lovely comment my friend. Take care and enjoy the coming week.

      Like

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this moving and inspirational story, Samina. “Sometimes you can do everything right and still the outcome is the same. You may not be the hero you once thought you were, but now you are a POLICE OFFICER.” Love this line!

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  3. Piper Bayard says:

    Beautiful story. Thank you for your service, Officer Monticello, and for sharing your experience in such a heart-felt way. Your story makes me think of my writing partner, who is a veteran field intelligence operative. Many would call him a hero, but he would disavow the word. For him, any memories of glory are drowned out by the tears for the ones he couldn’t save.

    Thank you for presenting police in such a positive light, Samina. My own experiences with police have been mixed. My father worked his way up to being a homicide detective in a major city by the time I was born. 13 years or so on the force and never drew his gun. It was a different relationship with the public back then, I think. I’ve lived places with extremely corrupt police, and I’ve lived places where the closest police were over an hour away–much further away than the criminals. Now, I’m lucky to live in a community small enough that there is no separation between citizens and police. The police here snack on sushi and scones (really), and they’re like the Canadian Mounties of the South when it comes to getting their “man,” whether it’s busting up a meth lab or hunting down an errant teen driver to put the fear of God into him without filing a report. They’re awesome. They also don’t divide society into “us,” “citizens,” and “skells.” I’m glad to see a site devoted to positive side of those public servants devoted to giving us a safe place to raise our children. It’s a tough job, and they are deserving of our support.

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    • Thank you so much for your time to comment so comprehensively and appreciatively. I love your line ” for him, memories of glory are drowned out by the tears for the ones he couldn’t save”. This is the moral of the story I have just shared. It is a reality. We are lucky to have such dedicated and humane police force to look after us. Good and bad sides are part of any organization and I can emphatically say that the majority of our police officers are great police officers. I am glad to know that where you live now there is an exemplary relationship between citizens and the police officers, the way it should be everywhere since we all belong to one community and must support one another and live in harmony. I feel overjoyed by your kind words about my blog. This is the least I can do to support those who serve and protect us. Thanks so much for sharing your personal experiences and for lovely words for my blog. Our police officers deserve our support., you are so right in saying this. It was pleasure to hear from you. Hope to see you soon. Take care and have a lovely week.

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  4. Ed says:

    Great story and post, the story could also be for my time in the Army..:-)

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    • Thanks so much Ed. And you are right the job of a police officer and an army officer are similar to a great extend and of course this is the reason you can relate to this story. Take care my friend and be safe and happy in your journey of life.

      Like

  5. dfen911 says:

    Thank you! My husband is a retired officer and we know these types of days all to well. We have been victims of hateful words and deeds, but when you’re in trouble they are the first ones you call.

    Like

    • Pleasure is mine. Yes I do agree these types of days must be very familiar to you. I feel very sad to hear that people victimize those who protect them and when they are in any kind of need for help they turn to them. Who else would come to help us in our time of crises but a police officer and we would be very unfortunate to extend anything else than love and devotion to them. A simple thank you can go a long way to start with. It is nice to hear from. You take care and God bless.

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  6. Hi Samina .,l commend you for your great sense of reaching your readers.Very inspiring post.Blessings and regards.jalal

    Like

  7. Amy says:

    Thank you for recognizing police heroes effort and distributing the stories!

    Like

    • Thank you so much for such appreciation for my effort to share these inspiring stories Amy. Recognition of our protector’s efforts is a must if we want to appreciate what they do for us. Thanks for such kind words. You take care and have a lovely week.

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  8. Samina, thank you for sharing this inspirational story. It tugged and tugged at my heart strings.

    Like

    • Thanks Elaine. Yes the story is so heart wrenching it touches the deepest chords of our hearts. If we recognize what a police officer goes through every day at work we will learn to deeply respect and honor him. This is my effort and passion to bring awareness to us all. Thanks for a lovely comment. Take care and God bless.

      Like

  9. Ajaytao2010 says:

    How are you dear didi
    wish everything s fine

    I am fine dear

    God bless you dear didi

    Like

    • So nice to hear from you Ajay my brother. I am just fine and happy due to your prayers and good wishes. Here the weather is changing and it is getting a little cooler. I was getting ready for the autumn and cold. Did a lot of cleaning of the house and finally I am done. Always so glad to know you are doing fine which gives me great satisfaction. I cook food on Ayurvedic principles. I hope you also eat food according to these since this food is medicinal in nature. I thought I will tell you to do this. Your didi is very careful and cooks everything at home. My blessings and prayers for you all the time my brother. May God bless you with everything in life. Take care.

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      • Ajaytao2010 says:

        thank you very much dear didi I am so glad you are fine and preparing for the cold climate.

        Very nice to hear you are cooking food on the Ayurveda principles very glad to know that too dear

        take care dear and I am fine and will be fine from your blessings

        God bless you and your family

        Like

  10. terrepruitt says:

    Whoa. (That’s all I can say.)

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  11. if you don’t feel the pain of others you most probably don’t have the right to become a doctor, policeman or judge.

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  12. munchow says:

    A great post and a strong story!

    Like

  13. Wow, Samina. This is just.. wow.

    It was chance he saw that little girl, and looked back, and then he chose to park and investigate. It was a horrible, horrible outcome – now that girl without a mother because of the father’s act, and then the father in jail. Where is that little girl, I beg to know she was properly placed in the hands of love.

    It’s true he couldn’t have done anything different. It was very honestly told. Wonderful post.

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    • Thanks you so much Noeleen for such kind thoughts. When incidents like these happen here the family services agencies arrive immediately to take care of children. They look after them till they find any close relative or a caring or loving family to look after these unfortunate children. These agencies keep the information confidential. I am sure the little girl must be in loving care. You are right the officer couldn’t have done anything different. Sometimes one does everything right but cannot change the outcome. This is life I suppose. You take care my friend and God bless you.

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  14. reocochran says:

    This is a touching post! Tears, that is what all good people in any position need to feel! It is important to understand the depth of the special strengths and insights needed to work with the public.

    Like

    • You are so right Robin. Compassion and care are a sign of goodness in a person. The ability to feel the pain of others is the hallmark of ones strength of character. These are all wonderful humane qualities that make our protectors so special in the world. We are lucky to have the care and protection of such superior human beings . God bless them and keep them safe. Thanks for the lovely comment my friend.

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  15. What a story! One that gets played time and time again in a different array of versions each time. It’s not black and white, rather so many shades of greys

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  16. you shared a great insights thank you for sharing this very inspiring and motivating post, thank you also for visiting my site… God bless

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  17. You have a way of giving my goosebumps goosebumps. Wow. As usual.

    Like

  18. nightlake says:

    painful and moving story. Touching to know that even a hardened police officer wants to be a hero to a young child. Sad that it is tears, but not blood and sweat

    Like

    • Police officers are real time heroes specially of children. It is a painful story but sometimes one cannot help the situation as much as one wants to. Thanks my friend I appreciate your lovely comment. Take care and God bless.

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  19. I felt tears Samina for this little girl, I wanted to hold her and comfort her, I’m sure one day she will understand why, even though now she is angry and blames the Policeman. It’s like us, we don’t always understand why we suffer until we mature, we can even get angry at God and turn away but like the Policeman He understands why and does not condemn us but He does show us just how much He Loves us, He is Love and Love never hurts the one they Love. The Scripture below I hold onto in the Storms of Life.

    Lamentations 3: 33 For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

    Isaiah 43:1-3 – Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.”

    Jeremiah 29 :11-12 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

    Thank you for sharing this story Samina – Christian Love from both of us – Anne.

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    • Yes Anne I felt tears for the little girl and one day she will understand her suffering. She is just a little child so blames the police officer. You are so right we also blame God for our sufferings just like the little girl. But God is love and will not hate us in return. Despite the difficulties of life Our Lord gives us hope for future. I simply love the teachings of the Bible that you have quoted. I appreciate you taking so much time to send these beautiful gifts to me. Nothing could be more precious to me than this. Take care and God bless my friend.

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  20. Uzoma says:

    Very touching and inspirational story, Samina. I’m thankful to you and all policemen and policewomen who put their lives on the line to make our world a safer happier place. God bless you.

    Like

    • Thank you so much Uzoma for such beautiful and kind words about my post and my blog. Yes I agree with you that we feel safe and secure and happy since our protectors protect us with their lives. It is a great feeling to have and to be thankful for. Take care my friend and God bless you.

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  21. The senior officer was right. There is no courage without compassion.

    Like

    • Hi! Kathryn. I agree with you there is no doubt that compassion has to accompany courage otherwise courage and bravery mean nothing. Thanks for visiting and for a lovely comment. Take care and God bless.

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  22. Jo says:

    What a compelling story. Thank you for posting it

    Like

  23. Anonymous says:

    Monticello did not write that story. It was originally posted by the Police Beat Magazine and the Author was Sgt. Bernie Moss

    Like

  24. Morguie says:

    Excellent post demonstrating utter humanity and the struggle to bear the burden of our own conscience’s questioning.

    Like

  25. exemption says:

    I have read so many content concerning the blogger lovers however this piece of wrriting is genuinely a pleasant article, keep
    iit up.

    Like

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